Effectively reaching an international audience requires a different approach to SEO from a one-country focus. Optimisation needs to take into consideration local market knowledge, linguistic nuances, changes to website structure to avoid duplicate content issues and steps need to be taken to ensure search engines index your country specific content in the correct region. Companies that apply the same SEO strategy to different countries often encounter difficulties that have a negative impact on their search rankings.
We work with a number of businesses who operate internationally and therefore have a number of websites in different languages. Effective international SEO requires a number of different factors to be considered. If you are looking to expand your business operations overseas or have already done so, but are encountering problems, then our team can help make this process smooth and successful for you.
There are a some very important factors that need to be considered when optimising a website in a different country. Our team are highly experienced when it comes to international SEO and understand what needs to be done to ensure positive rankings in the country you’re targeting. You must consider:
When expanding internationally it is recommended to create a website that specifically targets that country, but there are best practices that should be followed when doing this. For example, in most cases it is better to build a subfolder structure than using separate domains. The main reason for this is that the more domains you have, the harder it is to build domain authority for each individually. This will increase the time you have to invest in link building and make it much harder to build that domain authority, which is so important for determining search rankings.
Simply translating your website from English into another language will not be enough for it to start ranking in different countries. You have to go beyond this. The reason for this is that each international market is different, and the way people search is different. Different countries also use different words and phrases for products and/or services.
If you want your website to rank well in the native country, then it is vital that the targeting is setup correctly.
A subfolder structure, such as www.website.com/de or www.website.com/fr will allow you to benefit from the authority that your existing domain has built up through acquiring inbound links whilst still signalling to search engines that your sub-domains are targeting different countries.
However, for this to work correctly you will have to use hreflang tags that tell search engines that this subfolder is for a German speaking audience or French speaking audience. If these hreflang tags are implemented incorrectly, then this can have a detrimental effect on the success of your international SEO, as it can cause a duplicate content issue whereby each website is viewed as a copy of each other. This will lead to your websites being penalised by search engines like Google.
Our team are very experienced with implementing hreflang tags across international websites, meaning we are well placed to make sure any potential issues are avoided.